Back in 2006, I began a journey that I did not fully realize how it would shape my life. I started the Clergy Training Program of ADF. At that time, we really didn't have a program, we were using the Generalist Program as our first circle. Over the next couple years we added new circles, and then we rearranged the courses and added a few more. The program itself surely has changed since I first started working on it. I have survived these changes, and did get everything done to get the old version of the CTP completed before that was sunset... but due to transition rules, I was not able to be elevated at the time.
The journey surely did have some twists along the way. One big event happened at Wellspring 2007 when I took an oath at the Brushwood Nemeton with Raven and Carrion Mann. Kirk Thomas and Jenni Hunt served as witnesses while we did a ritual that culminated with a thunder storm and pouring rain right as we each took our oaths. The hot tub at Brushwood never felt so good after that. This gave me a deadline to meet for first circle, and got me out of having Raven or Carrion review my work, both good things.
I was consecrated (as it was called at that time, now referred to as ordination) at Between the Worlds Mens Gathering in September 2008. I feel honored that my friends and queer kindred were able to be present and aide in my entry into the clergyhood. Of course, this was the year of the Daghda, so we had to do 2 ADF rituals that year... The Daghda ritual was run by me, and my ordination was run by Kirk. This resulted in him doing his whirling dervish gate openings, loosing his balance, and trampling the branch we stuck in the ground for the world tree.
I then got focused on life for a while. I also got involved in the leadership and running of ADF. Seeing the sunset of the old programming coming up, I starting working on the CTP again, and was consecrated (yea, technically, I was consecrated 2 times and never ordained as the terminology changed after 2008) at Harvest Nights Festival in 2013. This was again great to do because I had so many of my ADF friends present.
I then started working on completing the rest of my coursework. I got the old CTP completed in August 2014, but I still had a couple transition courses I had to complete. This was the bad part of the transition and one that I still feel cheated some of our clergy out of the status they deserved. Needless to say, I have pushed through and completed all the coursework and the current plan, assuming I get approved, is to get elevated to senior priest at my grove's festival.
The journey has been long. It has been worth it in many respects. I have learned a lot, but many of the courses have come across as busy work. As I look back on it, the program is really heavy on the liturgy, and in many respects that is good, but not all priests are called to write or run rituals as their main purpose. It is also a very generalist program in that it forces you to look at many different cultures throughout the program. What is bad about this is that there is no way for one to really focus on the cultures that they personally practice. This is something that could be fixed by having the various Kins create study programs on their culture and make the completion of at least one of those programs be required for the CTP.
The ultimate question though is was it worth it. It was a lot of work, there is no questioning that. It was mostly educational. Now that it is completed, I am at the point of the release of all the stress tied up with the submission of the courses. So, in that respect, it was worth it. What comes from the eventual elevation and the years to come will really give me a better answer to that. For now, I will enjoy the end of the stress of the coursework, and pick up the new stress of what I am going to say at my elevation.